My benzodiazepine addiction first started casually when I began taking anti-anxiety pills in the year before my daughter was conceived. Though I found it easy enough to quit using them during my pregnancy, I ended up going right back to them after my daughter was born. At first, I thought I had it completely under control. They seemed safe enough since my doctor advised me to use them as a way of treating my panic attacks. However, it quickly spiraled into a worsening addiction.
Going into withdrawal and slowly recovering from the addiction was a huge ordeal that is worth writing a whole other post about, but right now, I want to talk about my whole reason for getting clean. I finally realized I needed to fight this addiction because my daughter deserved a better mother. Being able to overcome an addiction to benzodiazepines improved my parenting methods by giving me these seven important benefits.
1. A Better Memory
As any mother can tell you, being able to remember a hundred different little things at once is an essential part of managing a household. When I was abusing benzos, I found that there were huge blanks in my memory. I’d end up forgetting important things like whether or not I’d already given my daughter Tylenol that evening or not. These dangerous memory lapses were one of the big reasons I decided to get clean.
2. More Energy
When I was using benzos, I’d often find myself sticking my daughter in her playpen while I just laid around on the couch. I constantly felt tired, drowsy, and too lazy to actually get up and do anything. The new energy I feel after finally overcoming addiction helps me to be a more dedicated and involved parent.
3. A Stronger Relationship With My Husband
My daughter deserves to have dedicated parents who model a healthy relationship for her. During the worst parts of my addiction, I’d randomly lash out at my husband, and we’d get in these awful, pointless fights. Since breaking my addiction, we’ve been working on rebuilding our marriage, and I hope that our example helps our daughter to find her own healthy relationship one day.
4. More Even Moods
The mood swings that I suffered while addicted to benzos took a toll on many of my relationships, but the thing I feel the guiltiest about is how it affected my daughter. The rollercoaster of emotions meant that I could switch between cheerful, sleepy, and grumpy at the drop of a hat. Now that my moods are more even, I can provide the stability and reassurance my daughter needs.
5. A More Cheerful Outlook
Whenever I was between doses, I got quite irritable, and unfortunately, there were times when I snapped at my daughter or got irritated over the slightest noise. Even at the time, I knew it was horrible, but I just felt like I couldn’t control it. The irritability got even worse when I was in withdrawal, but I can finally feel it fading.
6. A Safer Environment
Being an inattentive, addicted parent means that my daughter’s safety was put at risk a few times. Now that I’m sober, I’m not going to drive while under the influence or let my daughter wander off unsupervised. There are far fewer chances for her to get injured or suffer an accident now that I am fully present.
7. Better Priorities
During my addiction, a lot of my priorities revolved around benzos. I’d skip buying a cute new outfit for my daughter because I needed more pills, and I’d turn down a potential trip to see her grandparents because I was worried that they’d notice my addiction. Getting sober has helped me to readjust my priorities. I’m now putting my daughter first instead of my own cravings and desires for benzos. This allows her to have a fully committed mom who is truly focused on her.